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The Hard Water Corner

Common sense information about a common problem.

Homeowner How To's, Before You Call For Service

Before You Call for Service head set girl 

This blog is dedicated to homeowners everywhere who know little to nothing about water softeners. Every day we receive calls about water softeners in Jacksonville FL. Most calls are from homeowners that are unfamiliar with water softeners and how they work. The top two reasons a water softener stops working can be easily corrected by you the homeowner. And we have put together the following info that I think you will find helpful.

Water Softener Not Working #1 Loss of Power

I don’t mean to sound like captain obvious here but we run service calls every month where a water softener has simply become unplugged. Most/all water softeners use electricity to keep the time of day and track your usage data. Just this morning I was called to a home in Nocatee were the water softener was not working. I noticed that the screen was blank. To the customers defense the water softener was buried behind a pile of interesting garage stuff that blocked access to the unit. After a few seconds of looking around I found the plug was half pulled out of the wall outlet. Plugged her back in and now all is right with the world. Or at least all is right with His water softener again.

The second reason for a loss of power to a water softener is a tripped GFCI outlet. A GFCI is basically a special circuit inside a garage designed to automatically turn off power to the garage outlets if there is enough moisture inside the garage. If a GFCI trips then it will likely turn your water softener off. To resolve push the “Reset” button in the middle of the outlet. Presto you’re back in business.

However if you water softener is plugged in and the GFCI circuit is fine and your water softener still won’t turn on then you need a service call. Of the available areas it’s more likely to be a transformer or wire problem and less likely to be the PC board that controls the water softener. In either case your water treatment dealer should be able to fix it from there.  If not call me.

Water Softener Not Working #2 No Salt or a Salt Bridge

Long story short water softeners use salt to displace the hardness minerals that are in our water. All of Jacksonville FL is measurably the hardest water in all of Florida making a water softener a must.  To keep water softeners running you must have salt inside the brine tank/ salt pot. Please refer to our blog “adding salt to a water softener” for more detailed information. If the salt pot runs out of salt you will not have soft water inside your home.

Secondly sometimes the salt can form a salt bridge. A salt bridge forms when the dry salts above the water level melt slightly and fuse together at the top of the tank. In this case the water softener could be regenerating without using the salts thus no soft water for you. When your salt level does not go down for a long period of time say a month or so you may have a salt bridge.

The solution to a salt bridge is to use a shovel or baseball bat to break up the salt bridge. You might want to stretch to avoid injury before you begin because it will take a lot of physical effort. A salt bridge can be like breaking up concrete. Once you break through the salt will fall down to the bottom of the salt pot. Note, if you are having this problem redundantly then try not filling your brine tank up all the way. Keep it half full or less to avoid bridging.

Water Softener Not Working #3 valve seals or brine piston malfunction

If your system is still not working after the first two items then your system may be in need of repair or replacement. Each valve has a set of seals or mechanics whereby it inserts the salt into the water softener tank. If a seal is torn or a mechanical valves gears are stripped then you will need to have these parts replaced before your water softener will work again. Depending which kind of water softener you have in Jacksonville FL will determine how much money it will cost. And when I say the word money I am pronouncing it like Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) from Shark Tank pronounces it. Just kidding. But as a rule of thumb older mechanical Fleck valves are very costly to work on and repair compared to digital valves. Fleck water softener valves have 5 times the internal moving parts than digital valves. A Fleck repair takes up to 4 times longer in time to repair than a digital 3M water softener or a Clack water softener valve. In either case a service call will be needed to replace the internal parts and get your water softener working properly again.

Do You Have a Water Technologies Water Softener? 

Please note that Florida Water Technologies Inc. is not the manufacturer of this water system. We do provide service for these systems however we are limited and only serve North East Florida or the greater Jacksonville area. If you look closely at the logo it does not say Florida Water Technologies Inc. The system is distributed by Coast Pump Water Technologies Inc. thus the little c and the little p on the logo.

If you have any questions please drop me a comment and I will get back to you at my earliest convenience.


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